In a dark recess of a San Francisco mansion lies a supernatural power whose terrifying heart beats in the corpse of an Egyptian mummy. When seven savage rips are found on the arm of Dr. Trelawny as he lies in a coma, only his daughter and an Egyptologist can discover the truth behind a body that won't remain dead. Now, the powers of an ancient ritual ceremony must stop the mummy's quest to suck the lifeforce out of everyone in the house.
If ever there was a curse on a project, it was surely cast upon Bram Stoker’s ‘The Jewel of Seven Stars’, for the film adaptions of this story have been ill-fated and, for the most part, disappointing in their execution.
This is sadly no exception. A sprawling story anyway, this adaption seems to go to great pains to complicate events further with flashbacks, unclear narrative and characters it is impossible to care about. The production has dated more than many others; it’s not obvious that the 1990’s had a ‘look’ (unlike the garish ‘80’s or the flares and collars of the ‘70’s), but ‘Legend of the Mummy’ proves that it had and possesses that ‘look’ in spades. It appears the designers took their inspiration from daytime US soap operas.
The mummy itself gets scant screen-time and is often filmed in extreme close-up, so we only get a glimpse of a hand or a bandaged jaw. It spends most of the film ‘stirring into life’ so we spend far too long with bland characters and the running time seems to last a lot longer than 96 minutes, despite the musical score’s attempts to convince us exciting things are happening. By the fourth or fifth time the creature seems about to go on a rampage, my enthusiasm has been strained.
There are some good set-pieces and some others that don’t convince, and there are moments when thing seem at last to be building up some tension. This is always short-lived, though, and the finale, when we get there, is something of a mercy.